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Guest opinion: Molly Fitzpatrick: Vote this primary election and help us maintain elections free from intimidation and misinformation

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

By Molly Fitzpatrick

We encourage voters to cast their ballots soon and no later than 7 p.m. on Primary Election Day June 28. In Colorado, voting is easy, secure and a valuable opportunity to make your voice heard.  We want to share how residents can support their local elections office in responding to efforts to undermine the democratic process. Our office works with the District Attorney’s Office to protect the right to vote and ensure integrity of the voting process.

The false narrative that the 2020 election was not legitimate continues to cast doubt in millions of Americans’ minds about the integrity of our election system. We see misinformation ramping up as the 2022 fall election approaches, despite bipartisan leaders, career election administrators and nonpartisan election experts confirming there was no widespread fraud in 2020. In a recent hearing regarding the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, witnesses from all sides confirmed that any claims of election fraud were — and are — outlandish.

Some people are so misinformed or committed to inaccurate assessment they have become emboldened to threaten election administrators and workers. This led to a concerning statistic: one in three election administrators admit to feeling scared to do their job. This sentiment could spread so far and wide voters will stop participating because they do not believe their vote will be counted. This should be a concern to all of us, as democracy only works when we have robust participation and voting is easy, accessible and safe for all. Public trust in democracy and the rule of law are integral to our country’s future.

The Boulder County Clerk & Recorder Offices takes protecting the right to vote and the security of election workers seriously. This legislative session, in response to the narrative and what is happening across the country, Boulder County Elections supported several bills designed to enhance protections for election workers, voters and the security of our election system. This includes enacting stricter standards for whom can access voting system equipment, accelerating certification requirements for county clerks, prohibiting disclosure of a voting system image without permission, banning open carry of guns around election spaces and increasing penalties for threatening or doxing election workers. Provisions such as these will continue to enhance the nationally recognized Colorado election model.

However, legislation is not enough. Boulder County, we are asking your help to ensure confidence in our election process by not just voting but by helping us fight misinformation and voter intimidation at any level.

Boulder County Elections established a reporting method to collect and immediately address concerns from the public. If you see a concerning social media/online post or in-person incident regarding elections misinformation, voter intimidation or voting issues, contact the Election Alert Hotline at ElectionAlert@BoulderCounty.org or 720-729-7667. (If you believe there is an immediate danger, call 911.) We review the information sent to this hotline and escalate it appropriately to law enforcement partners, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition to our partnership with the DA’s office, Boulder County Elections works closely with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments. Voters should rest assured their local elections office and law enforcement meet prior to each election to establish points of contact for any issue that needs to be escalated and to get ahead of potential voter intimidation scenarios. Given the current climate, we appreciate the commitment from our law enforcement partners to uphold election laws, protect and maintain the integrity of the voting process and respond quickly to threats to our election process. Still, with more online mis/disinformation and threats, we need you to be our eyes and ears as well.

Voters have a right to cast their ballot in a manner free from intimidation and threats, and our community members should feel safe to work as election judges. Your local elections office is committed to ensuring this remains the case in Boulder County.

Molly Fitzpatrick is the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder.

2022 Primary Election

Election Day is Tuesday, June 28. Voters should have received their ballots by now. If you did not receive yours, you may visit any Vote Center in Boulder County up to and including Election Day to register to vote, vote in person or drop off your ballot. The state primary election is open to Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters. For more information on voting — including locations, registration questions and more (including public tours, webinars and educational resources) — visit BoulderCountyVotes.org.

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